Perugia hosted the 2009 International Journalism Festival from April 1-5. Speakers listed journalists and editors from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Serbia, the Gaza Strip, Africa and South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, and the US.
These are some choice quotes I pulled from the event's video interviews.
This is the creator of Fifty People, One question. One simple question to fifty people stopped at random in the street: what would you like to happen today? The answers and above all the facial expressions and body language of those 50 people are surprisingly moving.
For a news reader, the question may be What piece of news would you like to receive today? and for journalists the question will be What piece of news would you like to give today?
Q: If you had the power to create a world-changing digital communication, what would you do?
[image by vgm8383]
Seymour Hersh writes for The New Yorker. He is widely considered to have been the most influential investigative journalist in the world over the past 40 years. The subject of his keynote was how the Bush administration overran the American Constitution with the aid of the American press.
In his interview, Hersh shared his advice for young journalists - read before you write. This was also a theme at the festival, critical thinking is running the risk of going out of style. To me every author has a responsibility to their readers - that of learning and discovering a topic from many points of view. Sure, with blogs opinions win, but didn't they in reporting and journalism as well?
Q: How much time do you spend reading and researching before writing?
[image by Iaw kewen]
Those are the answers to two simple questions what's the tole of the news reader in new media? And what are you doing to engage them? His complete answer should not surprise you - there are many knowledgeable people who weigh in a story and have a lot more to give than the journalists who wrote the article.
Online is the total experience, which you did not have in print. In that old world, the editor would pick some of the readers' letters and they were highly filtered. There was no opportunity to have a dialogue between journalists and readers. If you really believe that online is important, you can do many things that will differentiate you from your competition.
Our conversation with John Byrne uncovered his passion for and desire to understand the online medium in all its forms. When asked what's the future of print media? John answered that newspapers need to become local Googles and connect businesses and customers. Nobody is doing that yet.
Q: What's the future of print media in your opinion?
[image by petecarr]
They were the first college of journalism in England. The school's international program began in 1982 and their 4,000 graduates work in the world's media, including 1,000 outside the UK. In 2009, they will teach 270 post graduate students.
The MA in journalism is for people whose English is their first language and includes tracks like TV, broadcast, newspaper, magazine, investigation, science. In all of them students learn a little bit of everything. Students are very old-fashioned, they still run a newspaper program.
They're taught new media, video, and multimedia. They need to call it that way because saying they're getting a master in multidisciplinary cross-platform digital journalism would stump them. They're all cross-trained. For example the television people need to learn how to write more than 50 words and the broadcast guys learn a little bit of video, a little bit of production.
Q: Are some blogs in fact, multidisciplinary cross-platform digital journalism?
[image by MorBCM]
The quote was shared by Adrian Monck about Will Lewis, the youngest ever editor in chief of The Daily Telegraph. He uses podcasts, vodcasts, e-mails - oh, and a daily newspaper - as weapons in the war to pull in readers. From the interview held with The Independent more than two years ago:
Lewis argues that newspaper organisations need to abandon the "arrogant" notion that news is something that only comes out first thing in the morning.
"I suspect we might have been guilty of not making ourselves available to people at a time and at a way of their choosing. But if you're 25 and don't want to buy the Telegraph tomorrow morning that's OK because we can now offer you our website. If you don't want to come on the website, it's OK because we have an e-mail service where we can get you. If you just want to watch, we've got a video service," he says. "This is going to sound trite but it's our mantra. We want to give people what they want, when they want it and in the form that they want it."
In that same interview, he announced other aggressive tactics to reclaim territory or a position in their readers' minds.
Q: Aren't these tactics, the very same many bloggers (and the occasional analyst) use to get a story out going to sacrifice the truth for immediacy?
[image by Today is a good day]
Check out her portfolio. She began her photographic career in 1997 with a local newspaper in South London. Thompson now works freelance on assignments worldwide for leading international publications such as the New York Times, the Observer Magazine, Le Monde 2, Politiken, and many others.
Hazel's passion is to photograph social and humanitarian subjects; injustice towards women and children, as well identity within religion, being amongst her central themes.
At heart, Hazel is a
philanthropist, devoting time to the causes she documents. Working
closely with NGOs such as Global Angels, and Human Rights Charity
Jubilee Action, she often tackles sensitive and sometimes controversial
subjects. In an attempt to examine societal stereotypes, Thompson has
documented three unusual groups of 'Christian Crusaders'; bikers, cowboys and surfers who practice and preach the gospel.
Q: Could visual documenting and digital media do more to tackle sensitive topics, which are important to the furthering of modern democracy?
[image by JPhilipson]
You may not be able to understand Italian, or I would recommend Zucconi's lengthy conversation with Michele Serra. I just like this journalist for several reasons, three of which are things we have in common - we're both (opinionated) Italians with a Liberal Arts degree coming from around Modena and now living in the US.
He's authored several best-selling books, teaches courses in journalism at Middlebury college, in Vermont and has some very definite observations about the differences between Italian and American politics.
Q: Do you think that digital content producers are excercising critical thinking today?
[image by Pear Biter]
Does public opinion still exist? Are women taking leadership roles in new media? Can you trust the media? Is missionary journalism visionary media? Are there still news organizations that bear witness to world events? These and many more questions enriched the many topics of conversation during the International Journalism Festival in Perugia.
Let's help keep the conversations alive.
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.